Discover the Largest Reticulated Python on Record

Full body shot of Lavender Albino Reticulated python snake. Isolated on white background.
© Nynke van Holten/Shutterstock.com

Written by Samuel Christopher

Published: October 29, 2023

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Reticulated Pythons (Malayopython reticulatus) are a fascinating species of snake that is native to South and Southeast Asia. These massive snakes are often listed as one of the world’s biggest species of snake – in fact, depending on which criteria you use, they are the largest. This is an honor that is often bestowed on one of the world’s other massive snakes, the Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus).

However, Reticulated Pythons are on average the longest snake in the animal kingdom. The average length of an adult Reticulated Python is about 15 feet long, and large adults are often recorded at lengths over 20 feet long.

However, the largest Reticulated Python ever recorded far exceeds these lengths at a ridiculous 26 feet long and weighed 550 lbs. This massive specimen was uncovered in Malaysia in 2016 under interesting circumstances.

Facts About Reticulated Pythons

Reticulated python on white background

Reticulated Pythons have diverse and ornate patterns on their skin.

©fivespots/Shutterstock.com

Reticulated Pythons are constrictor pythons that live in Southern Asia. These pythons aren’t venomous. Rather, these massive snakes utilize their powerful stomach muscles to suffocate the life out of their victims.

Reticulated Pythons feed on a variety of prey, ranging from small rodents to massive animals such as sheep and other livestock. They also hold the distinction of being one of the few species of snakes that routinely prey on humans. There are many recorded instances of these snakes preying on people who live in proximity to their habitats.

Reticulated Pythons are very adept swimmers. This has allowed them to spread their range throughout the islands of Southeast Asia. These snakes have a variety of skin patterns that can be quite beautiful. These ornate patterns, combined with their immense size, have made them popular as zoo exhibits.

The Story of The World’s Longest Snake

The discovery of the world’s longest snake comes thanks to members Malaysian Civil Defense Force. The civil servants uncovered the massive animal while undergoing some construction projects.

The snake’s massive size was not only due to its length, but its heavy girth. At over 550 lbs, this snake was almost 200 lbs heavier than the previous record holder. This snake was also found in the wild, contrary to the other snake, which lived in captivity.

Unfortunately, the massive python died shortly after being recovered after giving birth to a single egg. It’s unsure what the exact source of the snake’s death was. Some have suggested that the snake died due to internal injuries while being mishandled by the people who found it.

The Largest Snake Ever Kept In Captivity

Biggest Snakes: The Reticulated Python

Reticulate Pythons are the longest snakes ever found both in the wild and in captivity.

©Opayaza12/Shutterstock.com

The former world record holder of the longest Reticulated Python, and therefore the world’s longest snake, was a 25-foot-long beauty. This massive snake aptly went by the name Medusa.

Although Medusa was almost as long as the world’s longest snake, she was much lighter, weighing a dainty-by-comparison 350 lbs. Medusa lived to the ripe old age of 10, which is fairly old for a large snake. When fully stretched out, she required over 15 people to hold her at her extended length.

Tales of Exaggerations

Snake sizes are one of the most exaggerated and overblown phenomena in the study of nature. This was especially true in the days before photographic evidence when Europeans were in an age of exploration and conquest.

Since the imperial powers of Europe were often in the business of conquering regions in the tropics, many of the explorers and armies of that time came into contact with very large snake specimens. This included the jungles of Southeast Asia and South America, where Anacondas and large Pythons routinely dwell. These early explorers routinely reported seeing snakes of obscene lengths, such as 48 feet.

However, to date, there has yet to be a recorded snake longer than 30 feet (the longest snakes ever recorded max out at 26 feet). Given this, it is highly unlikely that many of the snakes that were reported to be over 30 feet long were really that long. That being said, apparently a large reticulated python was shot and killed in 1912 in Indonesia that was over 30 ft long. However, these results will never be accurately verified by science.

The reasons that people report seeing such long snakes may have to do with an interesting element of psychology. It has to do with the sensation of feeling overwhelmed when feeling threatened. Some very large snakes, such as pythons and anaconda, are so large and so long that they are larger than the human eye can record.

The fact that these animals are dangerous predators likely contributes to feelings that they are larger than they are. One could say that it’s the adrenaline talking.

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